The man with music, therapy and mission, in the woods has captured my imagination since years. This morning, I opened up his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and read! Next time, I’d want to teach world history (esp the great wars) in school with this deeply human and thought provoking speech.
Let us dare to face the situation. Man has become superman. He is a superman because he not only has at his disposal innate physical forces, but also commands, thanks to scientific and technological advances, the latent forces of nature which he can now put to his own use. To kill at a distance, man used to rely solely on his own physical strength; he used it to bend the bow and to release the arrow. The superman has progressed to the stage where, thanks to a device designed for the purpose, he can use the energy released by the combustion of a given combination of chemical products. This enables him to employ a much more effective projectile and to propel it over far greater distances.
However, the superman suffers from a fatal flaw. He has failed to rise to the level of superhuman reason which should match that of his superhuman strength. He requires such reason to put this vast power to solely reasonable and useful ends and not to destructive and murderous ones. Because he lacks it, the conquests of science and technology become a mortal danger to him rather than a blessing.
Sitting moved, in this barsati.
* Dr. Schweitzer delivered this lecture in the Auditorium of Oslo University almost a year after having received the award. The Oslo Aftenposten for November 5 reports that he read quietly from a manuscript and that the seriousness and simplicity of his speech moved the audience. This translation is based on the text in French, the language which Dr. Schweitzer used on this occasion, published in Lex Prix Nobel en 1954.
I must stand in that auditorium. The urge!